IMEX 2014 opened its doors to attendees, where 3500 exhibiting companies made some 65,000 individual and group appointments. Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, spoke to MICExchange on the mood of the meetings industry and the evolving future of IMEX. Bauer noted that, “… we have noticed definitely that during this week and the past year … it was the corporate’s that were becoming more optimistic”, and went on to say that there is increasing evidence that the meetings industry is growing again.
In a video interview with MICExchange, IMEX group CEO Carina Bauer was asked how IMEX and the meetings industry has faced the challenges of an evolving meetings business landscape. Bauer, said that the show included new suppliers, was well as introducing and promoting new MICE destinations such as Rwanda, Bulgaria, “it’s the largest show in our history … I think there is a general mood in the aisles that there is a lot of business to be had, of course a part of that is the highly qualified buyers we bring in.” Bauer went on to say that almost a third of the returning exhibitors had increased their stand size.” .“We have almost 60 new stands this year,” – “and that’s a great mix–from destinations to technology to the private sector.”
Mr Ray Bloom (Chairman IMEX Group), had previously stated that IMEX 2014 had been the largest edition of the meetings, incentive travel and events industry trade show in its 12 year history where he expressed the industry sentiments as “… more positive and buoyant business mood than we’ve seen for some time”.
Carina Bauer noted the desire for more educational programs to enhance business skills and knowledge, “ One of the key things we have noticed is the desire for both buyers and speakers to do sessions on the show floor …. we [had] new educational hubs this year so people can ‘dip in and out’ so they can [do an appointment and go to a networking session, go to an appointment].. and that works really well.” “Whereas for those that are off the floor tend to be on Association day or exclusively corporate days, [where] we can really give those groups an in depth view and insight into different topics and strong peer to pear networking and learning.”
From the perspective of IMEX, exhibitors were more creative in presenting their products, Bauer stated, “When we organise a show, we organise it in partnership with the exhibitors, they’re the ones in the end who create the beauty of the show and they are the one who are entertaining the buyers and creating that very special atmosphere.”
Bauer was confident that IMEX saw a brighter future as more exhibitors and buyer groups attended the event and attracted new hosted buyer groups, many from long haul markets and the event developed expanded partnerships with industry associations and enhanced educational platforms.